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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Historical Tidbit: The Legend of the Romanovs

The Romanov Family
Did you know...?

That despite pervasive rumors lasting more than ninety years that when the Romanovs--the Russian royals who's family dynasty had ruled for three hundred plus years--were assassinated in 1918, two of the children somehow survived, the rumors have now been laid to rest?

It's true. Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia, abdicated the previous year as the Boleshevik Revolution got underway. He and his family were banished to Siberia. Yet, a year later, they were gunned down by the Red Guard on the orders of Vladimir Lenin.

Rumors that the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the youngest girl, and her little brother, Yuri, the only boy and heir to the Russian throne, survived because they had diamonds sewn into their clothes that might have deflected the bullets.

For years, rumors, stories, and legends have circulated about what might have happened to the two children. Countless individuals have turned the spotlight on themselves, claiming to be direct descendants of the Romanovs, or even the missing children themselves.

When it was revealed in 1991 that a grave with the Romanov skeletons had been unearthed, and two were absent, these stories seemed to be validated, but not for long. 

In 2007, a second grave, only 70 yards from the first, was unearthed. In it were the charred remains of two small skeletons, giving credence to reports that the Red Guard at first tried to burn the bodies, but upon realizing they didn't have the resources, sorted to simple burial instead.

Since then, DNA evidence has proved without a doubt that this is, indeed, the entire Romanov family. (Source).

So, what's the point of telling you all this? I have two reasons for bringing it up.

1) Obviously, this tragic tale is would be an intriguing backdrop for a historical fiction. And yet, this story has--no pun or disrespect meant--been done to death. There are so many stories in so many formats and from so many different aspects that have been built off this legend.

So my question to you is this: Can anyone think of a great aspect of this historical tale or time period that hasn't been done yet? If you were given this as a backdrop for any story, but you had to incorporate the deaths of the Romanovs, how would you handle it? Just wondering. I'll answer it myself, either in the comments or a later post, but I'd like to hear others' take of it, first.

2) My second reason for posting about this is that it is Russian history. My historical fiction novel due out in May 2014, is about Russian history. Granted, Ivan the Terrible, whose reign is the backdrop for my book, was three hundred years before Nicholas II, but there are more ties between the two than the obvious both-of-them-were-Russian-rulers aspect.

You see, Ivan the Terrible, who ruled in the 1500s, overlapping somewhat with Elizabeth I of England's reign, married a beautiful young lady by the name of Anastasia Romanovna. Now, at that time, her family was noble, but not royal. Her marriage to Ivan brought her family up in society, and for the next 300 years, the Romanov clan was considered royalty and often produced the Russan rulers. Their reign only ended when Nicholas II and his family were assassinated just prior to World War I. 

So, as you can see, this story interests me. In truth, most Russian history interests me. Russians know their own history very well, but not many in the U.S. are aware of it, and I think they ought to be (hence my book) even if Russian history is full of such tragedy and gore as to make U.S. history seem like an after-school special.

But I think we're blessed in the U.S. to have a more tame history, one where it's people haven't had to live through the horrors and heartache that Russian life--especially that in the Middle Ages under Ivan's rule--brought.

So, tell me what you think of this story, and if you're interested in the details of my book, they are posted below.  Happy Monday, Everyone!

In a world where power is paid for in blood, no one ever aspires to more than what they were born to, and danger hides in plain sight, Inga, a maid in the imperial Russian palace, must find the courage to break the oppressive chains she’s been bound with since birth. 
Inga’s life in sixteenth century Russia is bleak until a man she crossed paths with as a child returns to the Kremlin. Taras is convinced his mother’s death when he was a boy was no mere accident and has returned to try and discover what really happened, all during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the most brutal and notorious ruler ever to sit the throne of Russia. 
While Taras finds only lies and silence where he seeks truth, Inga struggles with the feelings of oppression that have plagued her for most of her life. Taras gives her the chance to leave her loneliness behind forever, but the cost and future of such a liaison is uncertain and Inga is afraid. 
Up against the social confines of the time, the shadowy conspiracies that cloak their history, and the sexual politics of the Russian imperial court, Inga and Taras must discover their past, plan for their future, and survive the brutality that permeates life within the four walls that tower over them all, or they may end up like so many citizens of ancient Russia: nothing but flesh and bone mortar for the stones of the Kremlin wall. 
Available now for pre-order. Due out May 2014

1 comment:

  1. I remember these stories from my history classes. It's still a fascinating story. Maybe set in space?